Local author reads from Western May 22

Karl L. Stewart idolized his grandfather when he was young. The man was an icon from another age. A Choctaw raised in Oklahoma, his grandfather had magic hands – he could make and fix anything. One of Stewart’s most-prized possessions is a pair of leather chaps his grandfather made for him before he died when Stewart was only 10.

So the author, a retired history teacher and Ripon area resident, didn’t look far for inspiration for his novel, The Legend of See Bird: The Last Long Drive. Stewart will read from his book and discuss his research and inspiration at an author event 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 22, at the Fond du Lac Public Library. Stewart will have copies of his book for sale and signing.

Stewart wove family legends of his grandfather’s life with research on the Choctaw Nation and the life and times of living in the 1880s to create this classic Western tale. Set in Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas in the mid 1880’s, the story begins with young See Bird Carpenter hiring on as a drover on what turns out to be the last of the long cattle drives. The journey becomes an odyssey of sorts for the young cowboy and his trail-mate Luke as they overcome the worst that nature and man can throw their way. The book visits a different time, when young men and women were forced by circumstances to assume responsibilities that could daunt people twice their age.

Stewart was raised in the hills of West Virginia, served in the Army’s Green Beret Special Forces, received teaching and master’s degrees, and taught, coached and advised in Wisconsin public schools for 30 years. He now devotes himself to his two main passions: spending time with family and writing.

The Legend of See Bird, the first in a projected trilogy, is published by Headline Books, Inc., of West Virginia.

Photo: Young Karl Stewart poses in his prized leather chaps, made for him by his grandfather. Karl wore them so much, he put holes in the knees.

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